Thursday, March 31, 2011

Every Day a Challenge

For the last 2 months, I have had this nagging pain in my chest and in my back. I have tried everything to get rid of it. I stretch and stretch and stretch, thinking that it is just a kink in the back and if I stretch enough it will go away. It started out small. Every once in a while it would hit with a vengeance and I would wonder, what is it? I waited a couple of weeks before saying anything. You know the routine. If you give it time, it will go away. After a couple weeks I finally told Penny about it. The thought then was, once you voice it, it will go away. It almost worked. But then it kept coming back. Because it was a pain in the chest at times, Penny was concerned. Who wouldn't be? After all, her father was called to heaven with a heart attack and she sure didn't want that to happen to her husband, at least not yet. So we finally called the doctor. Or I should say, she called the doctor and I grumbled all the way to the doctor. Telling the doctor, I felt like a fool. What is wrong with you? Can't you just buck up and put up with it like a real man? Are you a wimp? It sounds silly telling the doctor, "I've got a pain and don't know what it is." He looks at me like I am from another planet. It was like he was thinking, "What kind of man are you? A wimp? Can't you handle a little pain now and then?" Of course he didn't say it, but I felt like that is what was on his mind. Sent me for a stress test, just to make sure it wasn't the heart. That test went well. The treadmill type of test, hooked up to all sorts of wires and gadgets. I pushed it, just like the doctor said to, and turned out, the heart was all right. So we waited. He called it "watchful waiting." I called it ridiculous and chalked it all up to being less than a man. Of course, all men have pain and they put up with it. Why couldn't I? So we went another couple weeks. But it persisted. Every time Penny would ask, the response would be denial. "There is no pain." "What are you talking about?" "I am all right." I was working hard to be the man I thought I should be. (For those women reading this, understand the mind of a man. We cannot admit pain. We cannot admit that we are not "strong" enough to handle something so simple as a little pain in the body. We are MEN! Real MEN don't have things like this happen.) Finally, after 2 weeks of "watchful waiting," it got to be too much. Back to the doctor. Back to feeling foolish. Then the ultra sound for the gall bladder. Of course, nothing wrong. No stones. A normal gall bladder. But what about the pain...what pain? No pain. Wait, what was that. I guess it is still there. But they tell me nothing is wrong. Why would it hurt if nothing is wrong? Must be an overactive imagination. Be a man. Put up with it. But it persisted. So off for another test - hepatobiliary or something like that. Shoot the nuclear dye into the veins and wait 45 minutes. Easy peasy. Laying there, dozing, watching the timer and the liver, gall bladder and small bowel on the screen and it was a piece of cake. "Now I will put this in and see what doing all right?" Of course I am, I am a...what is that? O my! THAT IS INTENSE! "Try to lay still. It will only be a minute." Boy was it a long minute. That pain is intense. I never felt like that before. "Now this one won't be as bad." True, but still was something to behold. Then it was over. One hour and fifteen minutes later I walk out of the room. Penny looks at me, and drives me home. She says I look white. Of course I look white, they just tried to cause my gall bladder to react to the medicine and it did! Wow! Back to the office. Back to work like nothing is going on. The ladies in the office know that it isn't right. They are very supportive. They even wonder why I am there at all. (We learn because of the bad news Mrs. Doyle receives, that is why I am there. The Lord was watching over her even as He was watching over me.) A tough day. Lots of pain, some of it intense. Then bed time. Welcome relief as I go to bed. Wrong! After 2 hours, I wake up and feel awful. I get up. I walk. I lay down. I get up. I sit up. I change chairs. Penny gets up. "Of course I am all right. Well not really. I just can't get comfortable. I will be all right." Back to bed. The sitting up. And before I know it, she is driving me to the ER. Please, give me relief. I feel awful. Do something. Make me better. Morphine and relief. No pain. No suffering. Wait, it is coming back. A shot in the arm and good bye. Off to home and to bed. Call the doctor. See what is going on. Doctor not told about it (though his partner did get the call during the night). He is sure it is gall bladder. Take it! Please! No, not yet. You must wait. You must put up with it. Talk to the surgeon - tomorrow. Waiting. Surgeon and more talking. More feeling like a fool. Am I sure that it really hurts? Is this in my head? No! It is in my back and chest. Does my abdomen hurt? No! My shoulder blade not my back. Can I feel any more like a fool? Discussion. More discussion. And then the decision, we could take the gall bladder but it might not be the problem. I don't care! Take it! I want to be free from this nagging, chronic pain that never leaves and never goes away. Please! OK, but wait till Monday. What! Monday! Are you sure? OK, I can do this. Back home, service, lots of well wishes. Still there. It will be all right. I know it will be all right. The Lord has me and will see me through - just not today. I must wait...till Monday. Why? Because. No other reason, just because. So this morning (Thursday) I get up, think I feel all right and then, right there, the ache is back. It hurts. Pain level - all right Penny, here it is, around a 3. I can handle a 3. I can handle it till Monday. But take this out and be done with it. More ramblings to come, I am sure. This helps. Now you know. And I know. The question is, can a real man feel like this and still be a man? Oh the struggle of the mind. Peace - rejoicing in suffering. I thank You Lord for humbling me, for helping me and for being with me. I rejoice that I am Yours and I rejoice in the struggle. I do truly rejoice!

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